The UN General Assembly takes strong action to improve the functioning of the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund
Following the interventions of the staff federations and their extensive meetings with Member States, we are pleased to report that the General Assembly is taking formal action to address the problems within the UN Joint Staff Pension Fund.
In its draft resolution, to be formally adopted this week, the UN General Assembly (UNGA):
- Recognizes that the Financial Regulations and Rules of the UN continue to be the highest framework which govern the provision of administrative services. We understand this to mean that the UNGA rejects the Pension Fund’s new financial rules as proposed by the Fund’s secretariat and Board. Some had argued that the Fund’s proposed financial rules would pave the way for the removal of the Fund from the UN, allow the Fund to choose an alternative auditor to OIOS and circumvent UN rules on procurement
- Emphasizes that the UN’s Office of IOS is the sole internal oversight body of the Fund’s secretariat (the side of the Fund which manages the payment of benefits) and of the Fund’s Investment Management Division (the other side of the Fund which is exclusively responsible for the investment of the Fund’s assets).
- Criticizes in the strongest terms the unacceptably late payments to new beneficiaries and new retirees. We had highlighted the extreme hardship of those persons who had been forced to wait six to eight months to receive their first payment from the Pension Fund secretariat.
- Decides to approve the establishment of nine additional temporary positions, all of which are in the area of benefits (benefits officers and benefits assistants) to help address the backlog in the payment of benefits. As the draft resolution makes no reference to the request emanating from the Fund’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to create two P-5 posts, one for communications and one for office administration, it would appear that the CEO’s request has been rejected. We had argued that these two posts would be a waste of your money.
- Expresses concern over the Fund’s near-term underperformance in regard to the annual real rate of return on the investment of the Fund’s assets and criticizes the number of vacant posts in the Investment Management Division of the Fund. We had argued that keeping key posts vacant would no doubt contribute to financial underperformance.
- Requests the UN Secretary-General to provide it with a performance evaluation of the person in charge of the Fund’s Investment Management Division (known as the Representative of the Secretary-General). We had argued that this was timely.
- Requests the UN Secretary-General to entrust the UN’s Office of IOS with conducting a full audit of the Fund’s internal policies and processes. We had argued that there was much to be clarified in the fund’s operations.
- Calls on the Pension Board to ensure that the Fund avoids the use of consultants in its operations.
The UNGA also took account of a formal intervention made by the staff federations at it meeting in October of this year.
On behalf of all the Fund’s participants and retirees, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the FICSA membership for the continued support throughout this entire exercise to improve the functioning of your Pension Fund.
We will continue to keep you updated on developments.